Alaska tries to extend its winning streak to five matches as it battles Phoenix in the main game of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Season 43 Philippine Cup today at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The Aces, who started the tournament with back-to-back losses, and the Fuel Masters clash at 7 p.m. right after the opening tussle between Magnolia and Kia at 4:30 p.m.
Unbeaten this month, Alaska’s last victim was Blackwater. The Aces escaped the Elite 88-84 last Saturday despite the absence of forward Calvin Abueva.
Aces head coach Alex Compton will be pitted against his former assistants Louie Alas, now coach of Phoenix, and Topex Robinson, one of the deputies at the Fuel Masters bench.
“I know this will be a tough game for us. Coach Louie (Alas) and Coach Topex (Robinson) have been with me for three years and they know my values and what we teach. Coach Louie was also the coach that led me to my first championship as a player, and I know first hand what a great coach he is,” said Compton.
Alas was Compton’s mentor during his stint with the Manila Metrostars that won the Metropolitan Basketball Association in 1998.
Compton said Phoenix would be a tough match up for them because of the latter’s firepower.
“I think Jeff Chan, Matthew Wright, and RJ Jazul are premier shooters in our league and Phoenix, as a team, is the best offensive rebounding team in our league. I think it will be an exhausting battle for both teams and a really exciting game for the PBA fans,” he added.
Abueva is suiting up against Phoenix, according to Compton.
The Fuel Masters are coming off an upset 87-82 win over crowd-favorite Barangay Ginebra last Friday to improve their record to 3-3.
“Hopefully, we sustain our good defensive game against Alaska,” said Alas.
In the opener, KaTropa coach Nash Racela warns his players not to underestimate the 1-5 Picanto.
“We need to bounce back hard after a tough loss (against Magnolia 83-91). Kia is unpredictable which makes them a dangerous opponent,” said Racela, whose team is carrying a 3-3 win-loss record.
Ross, Rosario fined
Meanwhile, San Miguel Beer’s Chris Ross was fined by the league as an aftermath of the disorderly ending of the Beermen’s 96-100 loss to Ginebra last Sunday.
Ross was slapped with a P20,000 fine for issuing statements detrimental to the league and was also fined P5,800 after incurring two technical fouls.
The Beermen guard took the free throw shot intended for Chico Lanete with 4.6 ticks left against the Gin Kings. Referee Noy Guevara awarded the free throw to Ross.
Lanete escaped fine but Guevarra and fellow game officials Jerry Borja (three weeks), Jimmy Mariano (one week) and Mardy Montoya (one week) book scorer Lito Mendegoria (one week) and barker Noel Zarate (one week) were suspended by the PBA.
Rosario was also fined P5,000 for flagrant foul penalty one on Magnolia’s Paul Lee.